RIYADH: The Cabinet, in its weekly meeting Monday, renewed Saudi Arabia’s condemnation of Syrian air attacks on UN humanitarian aid convoys, which led to the suspension of assistance in the war-wracked country.
The meeting, chaired by King Salman, also expressed concern over the findings of an international commission on Syria — discussed by Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) — citing war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed by the regime, its allies and militias against Syrian people, especially in Aleppo, causing deaths of innocent civilians and destruction of schools, hospitals, water supplies, farms and food stores.
The EU imposed sanctions on Monday against four senior Syrian military officials accused of using chemical weapons on civilians, after Russia and China blocked similar measures at the UN.
The move marks the first time the EU has blacklisted Syrian officials for the regime’s alleged use of chlorine gas during the six-year conflict, although it previously accused one commander, Maj. Gen. Tahir Hamid Khalil, of deploying chemical weapons as part of repressive tactics in 2013.
It has also targeted Syrian companies accused of manufacturing chemical weapons.
The four military officials, who the EU will name on Tuesday, will be banned from traveling to the EU and will be unable to access any assets in the bloc or its banks, according to a statement by the EU.
The EU measures take the number of people under its Syrian sanctions to 239, as well as 67 companies.
EU sanctions also include an oil embargo, restrictions on investments, a freeze of Syrian central bank assets held in the EU and a ban on exports of equipment and technology that could be used against civilians.
Meanwhile, heavy airstrikes hammered opposition-held neighborhoods of Damascus on Monday after regime forces pushed back a surprise assault that saw opposition fighters try to fight their way into the city center.
The Levant Liberation Committee, a coalition of several militant groups led by Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, and the independent Failaq Al-Rahman faction spearheaded the blitz, which caught the Syrian military off guard.